KUANTAN: The land owner of the disused bauxite mine that claimed the lives of three children at Taman Sungai Karang here last year, stressed that he had not carried out any illegal mining activities on the said land.
Ng Kok Yu, 42, a corporate director for an electronic company in his statement submitted before Kuantan Sessions Court Judge Mohd Ghazali Mohamad Taib today, said he purchased the land about 10 years ago for investment purposes.
“It is a private and empty piece of land. There is no reason for anyone to enter the land. I had no knowledge of the children's presence on the land as I am based in Penang and had not invited anyone to my land.
“The children did not have any right, permission or reason to be on the land. The warning signs clearly stated that no trespassing is allowed,” he said.
Ng, who was represented by lawyer Jeyasingam Balasingam, added that he rarely visited the land and had neither applied for mining lease nor permits to produce or remove soil as he had not carried out any activities on the land.
Ng was named as the defendant in the suit filed by the families of the three children for negligence.
They, among others, claimed that he had failed to fence up the area to avoid people from entering the site, did not put up any warning signs or refill the disused mining pool with earth.
The plaintiffs, namely Mohd Shariff Awang Ngah and Norhabibah Aidir, both 50, who are the parents of Nureen Ain Juwita, 10; and Nor Azila Mudzafar Shah, 32, the mother of siblings Salsabila Zulkhairi, 12, and Mahathir Mohamad, 7; filed the suit on Oct 28 last year through lawyer Mohd Harris Abdullah.
On Feb 4, 2017, Salsabila, Mahathir and Nureen drowned while trying to retrieve a pair of pants from the disused mining-pit that turned into a pond after it was filled with rainwater prior to the incident.
Ng added that he had no knowledge on the existence of the pond nor had at any material time created or authorised any person to create a crater on his land, that was capable of becoming a pond.
Thus Ng denied he should be responsible for the unfortunate incident, adding that he had done everything within his means to protect the land and in preventing trespassers.
“The children's drowning in the pond was caused by their own negligence in knowingly taking the risks, and the negligence of the plaintiffs in failing to supervise and control the children.
“It is clear that as the parents, they had assumed the care and charge of the children. By allowing the children to trespass into the land, the plaintiffs had breached their duties to take care of the children and take all the reasonable precautions to prevent the incident,” he said.
Meanwhile, all parties in the trial visited today the said land, located about 15 km from Kuantan Court Complex.
They arrived at the vacant land at 11.30am and spent about 20 minutes inspecting the area.
Mohd Ghazali later set Aug 2 and 8 for submissions, and Aug 28 for decision. — Bernama